|Approach into Doufu, Papua|
Orientation: 09/27 (Landing 27, take-off 09)
Slope: 4% up, then 18%
Surface: hard red clay with patches of gravel and rocks towards top of slope
|Doufu airstrip, Papua|
Due to it’s location amongst a large expanse of marshlands, it is best to arrive at Doufu later in the day (after 9am) because all that moisture from the marshlands tend to form a rather thick layer of fog first thing in the morning. Winds are not usually a problem as the whole surrounding area is fairly flat.
|Low lying fog at Doufu airstrip, Papua|
The approach is free from any obstructions so I tend to overfly the airstrip to let the locals know I’m coming in and then tear-drop round onto final approach. Go-arounds are an option anywhere just before touchdown by turning left or right.
The airstrip at Doufu is right in the middle of the village. There’s a collection of houses at the lower part and the rest of the village is on the upper part. With the PC-6 we can land at the beginning and be stopped before you get anywhere near the start of the steeper slopped part. It’s better to do this as that steeper slope is very bumpy and has many rocks on it which can damage the Porter’s elevator if you roll over them at any speed. If I have a rice drop, I’ll slowly taxi up to the top as the local’s prefer it up there.
When departing from the upper section I like to pick the tailwheel up as early as possible into the take-off roll to help avoid any rocks hitting the elevator. This does increase the take-off roll a little but the airstrip’s plenty long enough; I’m usually airborne before the bottom of the slope anyway.
|Pilatus PC-6 Porter lined up for departure at Doufu, Papua|
Everything written in this article are opinions of the author and should not be taken as sole reference for attempting a flight into or out of the aforementioned airstrip.